Thirdeyemom

Kilimanjaro: An evening at Barranco Camp

Author’s note: This post is part of a series on my recent trip and climb of Mount Kilimanjaro, to read all posts click here

We left Lava Tower after a filling lunch and had a two-hour walk down from 15,190 feet (4629 m) to Barranco Camp at 12,960 feet (3950 m) where we would spent the night. From every angle, the summit of Kilimanjaro loomed reminding me of how much work I’d done and how much more remained.

Almost instantly, the landscape began to dramatically change from black volcanic rock to high alpine desert land. What amazed me the most about this part of the hike were the amazing trees and scrubs, some of which are endemic to Kilimanjaro and are magnificent.

The hike down was rocky and steep yet truly surreal. We stopped many times along the way to take pictures of the amazing views and highly unusual and exotic plants and scrubs. After several days on the mountain, it still astounded me how different it was the further we went up.

Kilimanjaro hike to Barranco Camp Machame Route

Stopping along the way to take many photos of the amazing landscape

Kilimanjaro hike to Barranco Camp Machame Route

Kilimanjaro hike to Barranco Camp Machame Route

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The Senecio Kilimanjaro and the Lobelia decKenii are two types of trees found along the path to Barranco Camp. The plants first appeared on the slopes of Kilimanjaro over one million years ago and are perhaps the most unusual trees I’d ever seen.

Kilimanjaro hike to Barranco Camp Machame Route

Lining the trail were dozens of Senecio Kilimanjaro that grow to over 16 feet (5 m tall). Very unusual and unexpected trees!

Kilimanjaro hike to Barranco Camp Machame Route

View of Kilimanjaro Summit with a Lobelia decennia in front

Kilimanjaro hike to Barranco Camp Machame Route

It looks like a giant pineapple!

It was only my third day on the mountain, sleeping in a tent without a shower or any luxuries of home. Yet I felt more alive than I had in months. I was in my element, doing what I love and on one of the most sensational places on earth.

Kilimanjaro hike to Barranco Camp Machame Route

I loved all the different views of the summit and how the clouds and light enhanced the mood. I wondered what it would be like up on top and how I’d feel. Would I make it there without feeling sick? How cold would it be? What would it be like to be on top of Africa’s highest peak?

Kilimanjaro hike to Barranco Camp Machame Route

Kilimanjaro hike to Barranco Camp Machame Route

Kilimanjaro hike to Barranco Camp Machame Route

Kilimanjaro hike to Barranco Camp Machame Route

Kilimanjaro hike to Barranco Camp Machame Route

Our group heading down the trail.

Kilimanjaro hike to Barranco Camp Machame Route

Finally as afternoon begins to fade, we approached Barranco Camp and there is never anything more welcoming than the first sight of the camp in the distance telling us we are soon about to arrive. My legs felt great and I still had energy. But I couldn’t wait to take off my hiking boots and let my swollen feet relax and breathe.

Kilimanjaro hike to Barranco Camp Machame Route

Kilimanjaro hike to Barranco Camp Machame Route

Kilimanjaro hike to Barranco Camp Machame Route

Kilimanjaro hike to Barranco Camp Machame Route

Kilimanjaro hike to Barranco Camp Machame Route

Almost there! We pass the Park Ranger’s office en route to the camp.

Kilimanjaro hike to Barranco Camp Machame Route

Once again the views at Barranco Camp are stunning and equally as gorgeous as the night before at Shira Camp. I was pleasantly surprised that there could be another place as lovely as the night before.

Barranco Camp Machame Route Kilimanjaro

Me and one of our guides arriving at Barranco Camp.

Kilimanjaro hike to Barranco Camp Machame Route

I sat outside and took pictures of the lowering sun. The light cast a golden hue over the summit and the clouds became alive with brilliance and danced in the changing light.

Kilimanjaro hike to Barranco Camp Machame Route

Kilimanjaro hike to Barranco Camp Machame Route

Kilimanjaro hike to Barranco Camp Machame Route

Kilimanjaro hike to Barranco Camp Machame Route

Kilimanjaro hike to Barranco Camp Machame Route

Kilimanjaro hike to Barranco Camp Machame Route

Kilimanjaro hike to Barranco Camp Machame Route

The next day would be short but intense. We would set out to climb over the Barranco Wall and head to our next camp, Karanga at 13,780 feet. The hike would only take about three hours but it would be strenuous.

This post was inspired by the Weekly Photo Challenge: From Every Angle. 

27 comments

  1. mplsjohn

    Excellent log as always. September National Geograhic covers attempt to summit Hkakabo Razi-exciting but your writing is better

    • Wow thank you for the nice comment! I will have to check out the NG article. Sounds interesting! I just listened to a fascinating podcast about the sept issue of NG. One of the reporters covers the ivory smuggling ring through Africa. I am going to have to read the story now as it is pretty amazing!

  2. Pingback: La tour Eiffel - Sylvain LANDRY

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